Friday, 10 October 2008

Simon calls for Government to purchase unsold apartments

The Simon Community is an organisation that does some excellent work for the homeless people of this country. Its volunteers provide a crucial service to those who find themselves living rough, and the organisation's stated aim is to eradicate homelessness.

However, Gombeen Man is not convinced of the wisdom of its recent call for the Government to buy out apartments which are lying empty due to the long-overdue property crash - citing that such an initiative would increase the social and affordable housing stock, while simultaneously giving a "boost" to the construction sector.

Property developers - driven by insatiable greed - continually welshed on obligations to provide a social and affordable element in new housing projects - especially in "better" areas. They made untold profits during the Government-sponsored "boom", and now we are being asked - as taxpayers - to put our hands in our pockets to buy their unsold stock. And this just after every Irish citizen has become a guarantor for the careless loans of massively profitable banks! (Lots more on this and other property-related issues elsewhere on the site).

The ironic thing is, the need for social and affordable housing grew during the property boom, as more and more people became squeezed out of an overpriced market, and the number of people who found themselves homeless grew exponentially.

There will always be a need for the State to stop people falling into the poverty trap, or from ending on the streets through eviction, through family problems, through mental illness, drugs, or through myriad other reasons. And groups like Simon should ensure the Government fulfills its responsibilities in this regard. But as far as housing, in general, goes - the only way it will become "affordable" again, is to simply let prices sink back down to realistic levels, where people don't need Government support to buy a place to live in.

Simon's suggestion would amount to charity for speculators and developers.

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Clamnut Comix said...

Hopefully in all the chaos something like this can get through. Love your writing man

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks for your kind words, CC. Makes a nice change from the abuse I usually get on this site!